From the back cover:
A season of love and giving:
"The Greatest Gift" by Stella Cameron
With Christmas approaching, a kindly nanny and an impish little boy conspire to help a gentle Cornish maid win the heart of a lonely widower.
"Falling Stars" by Loretta Chase
'Tis the season for forgiveness, as a gallant gentleman renews his acquaintance with the enchanting lady who spurned him ten years before--and rekindles Yuletide fires of love and longing.
"The Scent of Snow" by Linda Lael Miller
In America's West, a desperate woman trapped in a web of lies discovers new hope for romance at Christmastime--through an act of faith...and the steadfast devotion of a handsome farmer.
"Footsteps in the Snow" by Joan Hohl
A Christmas Eve miracle transports a sad and beautiful innkeeper two hundred years into the past--to discover the glorious ecstasy of true and timeless love in the arms of a dashing colonial spy.
And my review:
Stella Cameron's had many good elements, including the endearing child and matchmaking nanny. But I didn't feel that the threads of the story really wove together well. There just wasn't that spark to the characters that makes them live on in your mind once you finish reading. Also, at the beginning of the book, I think the author really hit a sour note with her reference to the hero's affair with a MARRIED woman. I couldn't really like the guy much after that. (Previous relationship - fine. Previous relationship where he's making his partner break her wedding vows - reprehensible.) It felt really unnecessary for the story, and it was only two sentences, so I really think that the author should have left that element out. Three stars.
I couldn't even finish Loretta Chase's story. She wanted to make a story of reunited love where both the characters were mired in the past. The problem was, they kept switching back from past to present so often that you got confused as to what was actually happening, and what was memory. I read romance for entertainment, not as something to agonize my brain over trying to keep everything straight. One star.
Linda Lael Miller's story was much more enjoyable, though not her best. I thought I might not like a lying heroine, but she had a good reason for doing what she did, and she really hadn't intended to hurt anyone. (If you want to read a really good historical Christmas romance by this author, try "A Springwater Christmas". Though it's part of a series, it stands perfectly well on it's own - I never read any of the rest of the series.) Still, this story was enjoyable - I never had to push myself to finish it. Four stars.
Joan Hohl's story was also quite enjoyable. I love time-travel stories, so this one was right up my alley. Some authors can do this concept well, and some can't. This author does a pretty good job considering that she has less than 100 pages to work with. Four stars.
This is a borderline keeper, though it has a better collection than most anthologies, where you're lucky to get even one story worth reading. This one only had one story that wasn't worth reading. Three stars overall.